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Positive Feedback ISSUE 27
september/october 2006


Calamus, The Splendor of Al-Andalus
by Mark Wagner


I love music from the medieval and renaissance as this period has some of my favorite sounds. Why?? Because the sounds from those sometimes dark centuries are still pleasing to my ears, as opposed to the current generation of uber crap sounds found in 99% of the musical offerings. You know what I am talking about; the stuff that lasts as long in the memories of the musically clueless as marriage vows last in Hollywood.

It is way cool to listen to music now that was popular 500 or more years ago. While we are talking medieval here, the offering here is not the norm for music from Germany, Italia etc, rather, but music from the near east and Spain.

MA Recording's Calamus The Splendor of Al-Andalus is one such offering featuring music that is both exotic and evocative. This is music that makes one think of not of kingly courts or dark and damp monasteries, but desert vistas, snug yurts and beauties dancing around a roaring fire while being admired by Moorish and Andalusian lords.

The recordings MA have found a warm place in my heart. Despite my passion for SACD, the sound on this recording is typical of the mastery of Todd Garfinkle. Though close, the sound captured is vivid and exciting. From the throaty voices of female vocalists Begoņa and Rosa Olavide to the exotic sounds of the târ, rabel, at other non western traditional instruments, we are treated to a most excellent musical treat!

Very highly recommended as a great disc to start with as an introduction to MA Recordings.